England Over 70 4 Scotland Over 70 0

Maiden Castle Sports Centre, University of Durham 28 February 2017

Scotland started well in their first international of 2017, their well marshalled defence keeping England from breaching the line, though at times they found it difficult to move the ball upfield past a wall of England midfielders. England's main plan of attack was to crash balls through to Stephen Stowell, and this tactic worked well up to a point, that point being that the England striker failed to trouble Nigel Dixon in the Scottish goal, putting all three of his attempts wide. On the occasions when Scotland broke through the English midfield, they played some good hockey, interpassing and making progress up to the England 23. Unfortunately they then foundered on the rock of the England defence and nothing came of any of the Scots attacks. The first half ended in a stalemate, neither side really deserving to be ahead.

All was to change early in the second half when the Scottish defence failed to clear the lines effectively, England flooding the circle with players to stifle the clearance. A fairly tame effort on goal was easily parried by Nigel Dixon but none of the Scottish defenders took command and Stephen Stowell stepped in to net from close range, putting England in the driving seat at 1-0. Scotland continued to try to play hockey and their game plan was still working, England failing to further dent the Scottish defence. As the game entered the last quarter, fitness began to tell and England increased their pressure by advancing Greg Hutchings, who had been playing right back, into his favoured inside right position. Scotland failed to track back, leaving the left hand side of their defence exposed, and England, always strong on the right, began to carve open gaps in the Scottish defence. It was no real surprise when a cross from the right found Stephen Stowell unmarked on the lef hand post and again the England striker did not miss. At 2-0, the game was moving out of Scotland's reach and Greg Hutchings made it three from a slip to the right at one of England's few short corners, his fairly innocuous short going through the Scottish defender on the far post. If that goal was soft, the fourth English goal was made of marshmallow. Another good English attack on the right, with men over, resulted in the ball being cut back to Colin Small, whose trundler was missed by a Scottish defender before somehow slipping past Nigel Dixon to make the score 4-0.

One lesson to be drawn from this game is that the Scottish players need to work on their fitness, as they are unlikely to compete with England on skill and, unfortunately, teamwork. While Scotland put in a commendable performance in the first half, making England look quite ordinary and bereft of ideas at times, they could not sustain the same level of performance for the whole match and, in the end, lost a match they never looked like winning, but could have drawn. The score was perhaps a little unfair on the Scots, all the England goals being preventable, but 4-0 it was.

Scotland Over 70 Squad Durham 28 February 2017

Back Row: Ferrol, Springford, Morrice, Weir, Philip, Dixon, Auld, Robertson
Front Row: Margerison, Ballingall, Downie, Tucker, McLernan, Crichton, Shirreffs

Scotland Squad

Alan Auld, David Ballingall, Roy Crichton, Nigel Dixon (GK), Ian Downie, Andy Ferrol, Kieran McLernan, David Margerison, Doug Morrice, Alistair Philip (Capt), Robbie Robertson, Murdoch Shirreffs, Norrie Springford, Colin Tucker, Sandy Weir.

Manager Doug Turner.